Lecture Leonhard de Paepe

Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL)

Lecture 'From passive Sensus communs in Kant to active Sensus communis in Schelling'

'From passive Sensus communis in Kant to active Sensus communis in Schelling'

The inherent conservatism of Wolffianism (Christian Wolff was a follower of Leibniz) was broken by the publication of Immanuel Kant’s three critiques. Germany gained a new intellectual impulse and took the lead in implementing the ideas of the French Revolution: individualism and rationalism.

Kant’s philosophy once and for puts the different spheres of knowledge (scientific knowledge, morality, religion and aesthetics) in their places and shows the limitations of all of these spheres.

Yet Kant’s philosophical system is problematically held together by his aesthetics. An aesthetics in which a ‘sensus communis’ shines. This concept remains passive in Kant, but is made active in Schiller, and later by the German Idealists and Romanticists. The Avant-Garde and it's dream of uniting the arts and society can be traced back into Schillers notion of play.

Reading list:

German Philosophy 1760-1860: The Legacy of Idealism.


After studying fine arts at the Willem de Kooning Academy (Rotterdam (NL)), Leonhard de Paepe (NL) studied philosophy in Rotterdam and Berlin (GE). He graduated Cum Laude after writing his MA thesis on the philosophy of aesthetics.

De Paepe was editor at the Dutch newspaper Trouw, in addition to writing book reviews for the newspaper NRC Handelsblad. He taught political philosophy and aesthetics by Jacques Rancière at the Willem de Kooning Academy and Fontys Collge in Tilburg.